Daily

Reflections

Finding God in our lives
is quite simple.
We just have to take
the time to look.

True Thanksgiving

As we bring this month to a close and step into the season of Advent, we are reminded that all gratitude comes from the abundance we have in God. The water that turned into wine at the wedding in Cana was well beyond what was needed and better than any wine that had been previously served. The 5 loaves and two fish that fed the 5,000 on the hillside were enough for everyone with twelve wicker baskets left over. We are about to enter a season of anticipation and incubation. We wait for a promise that has not come yet. But soon, we will see the star at its rising. We will hear the angels proclaim the arrival of the promised king. We will hold the tiny baby in our arms as He is born into this w

Take a Closer Look

Before we lose Thanksgiving in all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, I'd like to give you a small tool to help keep you in a state of gratitude. It's a simple practice, devised by St. Ignatius Loyola, that invites us to review our recent past. It allows us to see ourselves truthfully every day if we will do it. This simple prayer is called The Examen. We examine our day, our actions within it, and God's presence and action through it. It is telling that it begins with gratitude. I have an app that leads you through many variations of the Examen, and I would like to share part of the traditional prayer from it with you. First, "I get into a comfortable position. I let my muscles relax and m

Enough is Enough

Our friend was in his home listening to the pitch of a well-known multi-level marketing company's salesperson. The salesperson asked, "Are you happy with your current level of income?" and our friend immediately answered, "Yes." The salesperson looked to the nearly empty front room of the house and at the inexpensive furniture in the living room and incredulously replied, "You are?" He was. He and his wife were young, early in their marriage, and had a couple of kids. There was space in the front room for a mattress to protect the gymnastic escapades of their daredevil sons, they had a great neighborhood with many friends, and a very active faith community that they were a part of. There was

Challenging Gratitude

Not long ago, I was really irritated with my husband and I just couldn't get past it. I tried, I really did, but I just couldn't let it go. Finally, in prayer, I realized that I needed to say what I was grateful for in him. It's that verse I keep bringing up - Whatever is true, whatever is honorable ... (Philippians 4:8) I needed to look at those things to help bring me back to center again. Then I realized that just telling myself these things wasn't going to be enough. I needed to tell him. He needed to know that I saw the good in him, even when he made mistakes. He needed to know that I valued him immensely even when I was angry. We sat at coffee, and I told him I had something to say. He

Don't Look Back

Justin Tucker, kicker for the Baltimore Ravens, was once commented that the most crucial time in a game is not the field goal that you miss, it's the one after that really shows what you're made of. In most things in life, we need to look forward to where we are going rather than looking back at where we have been. Of course, it is good to learn from our mistakes, but we they can't be our focus as we continue on. Spiritually, it's an important concept, too. We have so many examples of people looking back to the detriment of their future. It didn't go so well for Lot's wife. The Israelites couldn't stop looking back to Egypt as they wandered the desert and ended up not entering into the promi

Skipping Thanksgiving

My daughter has told me of several friends who have already put up their Christmas trees. In fact, they've been up almost a week already. Christmas songs are playing on the radio and in my house, and the stores have been filled with red, white, and greenery for weeks. It's easy to miss Thanksgiving. I have to admit that there are parts of it that I would rather skip. Even though I am a good cook, turkey is not an entree that I do well. Unfortunately, no one in my family thinks that a ham is a reasonable substitute. It's their loss, really. We are not big Black Friday shoppers, but I definitely resent the loss of a day of rest and family before the Christmas shopping season starts in earnest.

The Right Kind of Prayer

I love how we pray, and to think about how God hears us. I know there have to be times when He just smiles and shakes His head at me, and I imagine you have had moments like those yourself. I also love that we have such a great example in the words of the apostles. Peter, James, John - each one of them could speak directly to Jesus and could get an immediate answer. And they sounded just like us. I recently read the passage where James and John approach Jesus on the way to Jerusalem. Right after Jesus told everyone that the journey would end in His arrest, conviction, and death, they come to Jesus and say, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." (Mark 10:35) They seem to

Reminders

I want to leave you with a little something to help you with this life of holiness that we strive for. Click on the picture for a link to print the verses I've used over the last couple weeks. Cut them out. Put them on your mirror, in your car, as a bookmark, anywhere. Whenever you see them, remember who you are called to be. Remember that you are most fully alive when you are fully in Christ. God bless each and every one of you. Photo: S Sniderman

Best Life Ever

Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, vitality, or joy. On the contrary, you will become what the Father had in mind when he created you, and you will be faithful to your deepest self. To depend on God sets us free from every form of enslavement and leads us to recognize our great dignity. Do not be afraid to set your sights higher, to allow yourself to be loved and liberated by God. Do not be afraid to let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit. Holiness does not make you less human, since it is an encounter between your weakness and the power of God's grace. For in the words of León Bloy, when all is said and done, "the only great tragedy in life is not to bec

Don't just sit there...

Now that we know we were made for holiness, that we live most fully when we let our light shine, and have some tools to help us stay connected to that light, we will finish with a call to action. This faith you have, the faith you are developing was never meant for you alone. If we are made in the image of God, then we were made for others. We were made to give of ourselves just as Jesus did. We were made to inspire others as the Holy Spirit does. What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,

What do you think?

Now, all of this holy living is great that we've been talking about the last couple weeks is great, but it doesn’t just happen. Not normally. There are plenty of times when we just can’t “put on compassion, kindness, or humility.” Times when I know the Lord is near, but we just can't feel Him there. What do we do then? Let’s go back to the manual: Philippians 4:8-9 I've definitely had times when I had to read this passage to myself several times in a day. Each time, it eventually gets through and resets my mind and soul in the right direction. It’s pretty simple really. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatev

Instruction Manual

I love using Colossians 3:12-17 as a blueprint for life in Christ. The Philippians passage from Wednesday about always rejoicing can be a little hard sometimes. I know there have been times when rejoicing has been about the last thing I felt like doing. We know we should rejoice in all things, but we have to figure out how to get there in the first place. Paul’s letter to the Colossians gives us specific actions we can take in building our lives in holiness. The first thing he does is remind us who we are: Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a gr

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Karen May

Inspirational Catholic Writer and Speaker

based in Austin, Texas